12.0268 accounting and information

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 23 Oct 1998 09:28:14 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 268.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca> (35)
Subject: vocabularies and accounting

[2] From: Dan Price <dprice@tui.edu> (103)
Subject: RE: 12.0265 gleanings

Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 21:01:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: Francois Lachance <lachance@chass.utoronto.ca>
Subject: vocabularies and accounting


A bit unfair in your last "gleanings" to the discourse of accounting.
Though I supose it is with purpose of gentle provocation.
Unfortunately you give no examples of how the terms of accounting have
dominated certain quarters of the academy.

I do like the fine distinction that accountants make between "expense"
and "cost". It enables us to argue with some authority (when a superb
set of data is presented) that the expense of investing in
humanities, computing and otherwise, is fully rewarded and then some
by the savings realized (i.e. the cost if expense had been spared). I
am willing to wager that some econmists can even make the positive case that
labour forces with higher levels of general arts education not only
adapt better to changing market place conditions but also sustain
higher productivity.

Watching the bottom line is moot without a proper scheme for

I need not remind you that Eurpoean humanities culture arose along
side banking or that learned societies also rose contemporaneously with
corporations (e.g. the Royal Society and the East India Company) and
the newly emerging infrastructures served both.

Knowldege production like commerce is a gamble. And both depend upon
exchange. Tyche has never been far from technology and its
deployment. Technologies of communication are especially open to
chance. Scholarship is but the reading of the aleatory history of the
archive. Consider the analogy between the insurance industry's
actuarial tables and the "longue duree" of the Annales school of
history. Amazing how the singular becomes repetitive over time. Quite
amazing too how periods of amortization are open to negotiation.

The struggle is of course to gain the public's good will for projects
that extend beyond the span of a single human lifetime. Not an easy
feat for a university system still in many respects nostalgic for
accomplishments of the gentleman scholar - the man of leisure and
wealth. How did Erasmus manange?

Is the computing humanist to be a mendicant milites?


Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 19:47:16 +0100
From: Dan Price <dprice@tui.edu>
Subject: RE: 12.0265 gleanings


I love the phrase "Make love not information." Is it copyrighted?

As for "What is it when we "reach deeper into the
minds of those receiving the signals" and activate "more complex ideas in
the heads of potential mates", whether these be sexual or intellectual
mates, or both? Like the notion of "productivity", which so vexed
discussions of computing a few years ago, the terminology of IT pollutes
the water before we drink it."

The terminology, the information, is part of the whole process. It is like
trying to separate language from thinking. The communication or the
expression (and when we use those words, the process seems more palatable
than that of transmitting information) is part and parcel of the doing what
you describe.

Thanks for the stirring of the pot.

Dan Price, Ph.D.
Professor, Center for Distance Learning
The Union Institute (800) 486 3116 ext.222
440 E McMillan St. (513) 861 6400 ext.222
Cincinnati OH 45206 FAX 513 861 9026


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